Burning Fantasy Baseball Questions: Atlanta Braves

by Tim Heaney on January 3, 2011 @ 11:00:00 PDT


KFFL answers some important fantasy baseball questions for each Major League Baseball team as spring training approaches. What must fantasy baseball players know about the Atlanta Braves?

Who'll fill the big shoes of the pint-sized Billy Wagner?

Atlanta Braves 1B Freddie Freeman
Can you get him for Freeman?

Narrow it down to Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters for saves. Both have absurd dominance. Both have control issues. Venters showed much better ground-ball inducement in 2010, but Kimbrel has a history of dirt-denting, as well, despite not showing it in the majors.

Kimbrel has long been considered the closer of the future, and he's the better fantasy choice at this point. If he can induce more ground balls in MLB, he has Carlos Marmol-like upside, given their similar K/BB profiles. Unfortunately, this decision could be made late in spring training and might become a split situation. Both are worth owning in deep mixed leagues. Monitor this battle.

What are Jason Heyward's expectations for 2011?

Nagging thumb and knee injuries put a cap on his rookie output, which was still eye-popping. The five-category threat has a walk rate beyond his years but hit most of his smacks into the dirt in 2010, which doesn't bode well for a huge power improvement in his sophomore campaign.

His categorical versatility has made him a top-60 pick in most early mixed mocks. That high grounder rate means he shouldn't be one of your main sources for homers in the upcoming year. With his injuries behind him, though, safely bid on his other contributions.

Will Freddie Freeman conjure images of Fred McGriff immediately?

Atlanta still has their toes in the first base free-agent pool, but they aren't afraid of throwing the 21-year-old into the deep end if needed. His power at Triple-A spoke of great promise, but counting on his pop having a Heyward-like debut is an unwise bet.

A big part of his boom might fall into gaps as he tries to build on a rough September big-league stint. He's safest as a mixed flier and a low-end single-universe option.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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